a) Co-signed.
b) The best single essay for “Should I religiously read Byrne?” is his The 30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Is Intrinsically Toxic, which earns its title thoroughly.

“And how does Japan do it, Patrick?”

While we’re catching the US method from financial / policy innovations in last 20 years, I have the baseline Japanese mortgage, which is a 35 year ARM with built-in group insurance on the family’s wage base (me).
Rate floats every six months, resulting in overpayment or underpayment of interest since payment is fixed for 5 year increments. Every 5 years, payment resets to bring you back on track. Payment guaranteed to not increase more than 25% at any reset. If I die, loan forgiven (ins).
Interestingly the “housing as income insurance” was heavily promoted during the process, including in printed material, and a family member of mine would have been destitute but for this option.

(Which: term life term life term life buy more of it than you think you need.)
"In what way is housing income insurance?"

Because either a) housing is ~30% of your income so if you were no longer around then family could scrape together with less-employable spouse or b) downsize housing and "retire" off Tokyo rents + other insurance/pension income/etc.

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More from @patio11

18 Oct
Some people might not know Magic Wormhole exists. It's a great way to transfer files or text (passwords, API keys, etc) synchronously and securely between two computers without leaving a copy on any sort of online system.

Used it for a lot of secrets when booting up new machine.
The UX is:

$ wormhole send <filename>
# You get a magic human pronounceable passphrase here


$ wormhole receive
# You are prompted for that passphrase; no addressing, VPN, etc necessary.
Available via homebrew (magic-wormhole), your package manager of choice, or source here:

Read 8 tweets
18 Oct
FAQ: “How do I get better at writing?”
Me: Write a million words.
Follow up: “Hah but seriously.”
Me: Start with 20,000 words. Everyone gets to that 50 times in their first million.
Follow up: “No seriously.”
Me: Nobody expects 10 Quick Tips To Play Violin At Carnegie Hall.
The Internet is so much better at teaching writing than the traditional educational system principally because it removes an artificial and limiting constraint on output imposed by ability of gatekeepers’ limited time to evaluate output.
(Interestingly in fields where we actually care about performance we’re good at encouraging students to practice when no one is watching but for writing we basically assume all the value is created by the teacher-minute of attention. Teacher-minutes are scarce and rationed.)
Read 4 tweets
18 Oct
A type of development you see a lot in Tokyo on arterial streets, like this one in Nakameguro (4 lane road; rare here).

Three retail (grocer, pharmacy, convenience store) serving foot traffic from neighborhood. One floor of commercial destination locations. About 65 apartments. Image
You could imagine Market Street in SF looking like this from the Financial District for next 12 blocks or so, without compromising anything people truly want, greatly improving usage and appeal of that corridor.

(Doesn’t have to be every lot obviously.)
Same street a block away.

These are all light commercial / residential, most likely owned by a landlord living in the building.

Average density on street works out due to a few larger developments adding 2-3 virtual stories everywhere. Image
Read 5 tweets
17 Oct
Interesting UX from Paypay, a Japanese QR code (primarily) payment app: I was doing a transaction and after authing it they interrupted me to say I had won a promotion and was getting 2% cash back.

(Base is 0.5% these days; 1.5% for very heavy users.)
So clearly this is designed to gamify usage to win share of wallet against other payment methods. Interestingly, it seems like it is directly targeted at credit cards, contact payments like Suica, and Apple Pay/etc, none of which can replicate the UX without an app to do it with.
I wonder what the win rate is and I wonder if it is static or whether they vary it over transactions to maximize ROI on the marketing spend. PayPay is ~always a small ticket (mine was $30) so it’s cheap anywhere, but maybe you try to encourage me to use at new stores or similar.
Read 5 tweets
13 Oct
Oh I somehow missed my yearly exhortation:

If you work in tech, you are likely underinsured on term life. You should have plural million dollars of coverage, including *outside* coverage offered by your employer. This is so cheap you will barely notice it.
One hour of effort to set up or less every 10, 15, or 20 years. The physical will come to you or you'll be able to do it without a physical if you're young and healthy.

(I got $1M through Ethos w/o a physical and I'm older and in less great shape than many reading this.)
Cannot bang this drum enough because: black swans do happen to young and healthy people in our line of work. I have seen young families whose primary breadwinner I knew through the Internet in a pass-the-hat situation.

If you have people/causes who need your money, get it done.
Read 5 tweets
12 Oct
A fun recent ship from Stripe: we trained an ML model on all of the disputes and chargebacks to give every one in your dashboard a 1 to 5 score based on likelihood that you'll win it, which we can predict given card issuer, type of dispute, etc with some accuracy.
This lets you and/or your CS teams prioritize which disputes to actually work on evidence collection for and which to either just refund-and-chalk-up-as-cost-of-doing-business or use less-resource-intensive evidence submission (e.g. with the API you could post a templated letter)
B2B software is generally understood to not be intrinsically a network effects business, but scale affords some data-driven advantages, and intriguingly it makes those advantages possible for customers who don't *themselves* have sufficient scale to do this.
Read 5 tweets

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